Daily Beast: Gun Control Can Stop Terrorists

French terrorist survivor (courtesy thedailybeast.com)

When gun rights advocates point out that the firearms-related murders are “epidemic” in a city with some of America’s strictest gun control laws (Chicago), advocates of civilian disarmament maintain that gun control isn’t the problem. It’s the answer! Well it would be if it weren’t for those meddling kids lax gun laws in surrounding states. But the same token, how do Islamic terrorists in Paris kill dozens of innocents with AKs in an entire country with “common sense gun laws”? “The answer,” dailybeast.com scribe David Axe writes . . .

Eastern Europe, most likely, where the trafficking of deadly small arms is big, shady business. And where local authorities find it difficult to intervene.

The French government and the European Union know they have a foreign gun problem. But as the chain of attacks illustrates, efforts to tamp down on the flow of weapons have, so far, failed to disarm terrorists.

French police reportedly seized more than 1,500 illegal weapons in 2009 and no fewer than 2,700 in 2010. The number of illegal guns in France has swollen by double-digit percentages annually for several years, Al Jazeera reported, citing figures from Paris-based National Observatory for Delinquency.

The seizures likely made just a tiny dent in the pool of available weapons. “The fact that a Kalashnikov or a rocket launcher can be acquired for as little as 300 to 700 Euros in some parts of the EU indicates their ready availability for [organized crime groups], street gangs or groups orchestrating high-profile attacks resulting in significant numbers of casualties,” Europol, the EU’s law-enforcement agency, explained in a policy brief.

Riddle me this: how many guns does a terrorist cell need to mow down unarmed French folk? Less than a dozen, certainly. So what are the odds that French laws can stop terrorists from obtaining weapons inside France? Let’s examine the anecdotal evidence:

On March 6, 2012, French lawmakers passed a law tightening up gun regulation and increasing penalties for illegal ownership. Just five days later, Mohamed Merah—a French jihadist of Algerian descent—went on shooting rampage, killing seven people in three separate attacks in around Toulouse before a police sniper shot him dead.

Merah’s arsenal included an AK-47, an Uzi, a Sten submachine gun, a shotgun, and several pistols—all illegal. “He could only supply himself on the black market or from crime organizations, that’s clear,” Thierry Coste, a pro-gun lobbyist, told The Christian Science Monitor.

In October 2014, French police raided several homes across the country, breaking up an Internet-based smuggling ring, arresting 48 suspected traffickers, and seizing hundreds of illegal guns. Three months later on Jan. 7 this year, jihadist gunmen wielding AK-47s shot up Charlie Hebdo in Paris, killing 12 people.

And then the most recent atrocity. All of which would lead any sane person to conclude that French legislators’ efforts to stop the tide of illegal firearms flowing into France are as deluded as King Canute. Judging from Axe’s conclusion – based on evidence supplied by his own article – the writer shares that particular affliction.

Weapons are still flowing into the country and into the hands of violent extremists. And on a Friday night in November, heavily-armed terrorists opened fire yet again, in a lawful country with few legal guns that has the misfortune to be surrounded by lawless countries… with lots of guns.

More gun control, less guns? Not even in a police state, to which Axe’s logic leads. In short, same sh*t, different wrapper.


  1. avatar Dustin says:

    It’s very hard for people with such absence of conscience to own up to the fact that they’re causing it, not solving it.

    If you had to admit that all this blood was on your hands… It’s be a tough pill to swallow. If your ego was all that ever really mattered to you in the whole argument, not actually arriving at a useful conclusion; you’d probably double-down over and over again, until it finally happened to you…

    Cue The Hangman…

    Anti-gunners just don’t give a damn except getting more press… Without dead bodies, they aren’t relevant, so, duh, keep making laws that cause it, not stop it…

    1. avatar JR_in_NC says:

      “Cue The Hangman…”

      Ask and ye shall receive:

    2. avatar William Burke says:

      There’s no cure for this brand of insanity. Alas. My sympathy for these terrorist enablers has vanished forever. Doing or advocating the same “cure” over and over is a sign of insanity.

      These traitors are incurably insane. And there is no way to get through to them just how insane their policies are. The world would be immeasurably better off without them.

      1. avatar Juanito ''Johnnie'' Ibañez says:

        “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
        —Albert Einstein

  2. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

    OK, so let’s think happy thoughts and dream the pretty pink dream that they don’t get guns.

    What happens next? We get is a bunch of Dirka-Dirka-Dirkas blowing up a parade with pressure cookers filled with ball bearings, Vaseline and an oxidizer.

    Real tough stuff to obtain, that.

    The problem isn’t guns, or pressure cookers, or even Vaseline. It’s the people behind those things.

    1. avatar schernobyl says:

      So blame the inventor of vasoline?

      1. avatar Julio says:

        Worse–sue them for millions. Same with the inventor of the pressure cooker. Clearly, they are at fault. Go after the stores for selling these items without a background check too.

      2. avatar William Burke says:

        No, blame the members of Craft, International, who were all over the marathon bombing area, in identical khakis and polo shirts, with pressure cooker-size identical backpacks on.

    2. avatar tdiinva (now in Wisconsin) says:

      Right after the Boston bombing the BATFE guys showed at my son organic chemistry lab at Colorado State to confiscate potential bomb making materials. Just as a precaution mind you. This is the kind thinking, or specifically lack of thinking, shown in Axe’s article. Here you have a dozen guys and gals who can go down to local hardware and grocery stores and mix up any number of explosive and chemical weapons. How stupid can you be? Apparently pretty stupid if you write for the Daily Beast.

  3. avatar Hawkeye says:

    The biggest issue with gun control is that it doesn’t provide for failure.

    What do you do when gun control fails? You die.

    1. avatar bobmcd says:

      Brilliantly stated. I am totally stealing this.

    2. avatar JR_in_NC says:

      Oooo, very nice. Well done, sir.

    3. avatar SkyMan77 says:

      + Another… That’s truly visionary Hawkeye (your screen name suits you)… Thank you Sir… Let me know where to send the royalties check… 🙂

    4. avatar Bill Kohnke says:

      Sounds like a coldly calculated answer…must be an engineer. 🙂

      1. avatar Hawkeye says:

        No, sir, banker!

        1. avatar Blake says:

          Queue up the banker and glass eye joke.

    5. avatar Sian says:

      Thanks, Hawkguy

    6. avatar Yellow Devil says:

      Good point.

      It’s like saying no matter how high the Federal government raises the minimum wage, it will always be $0.00 per hour when you can’t get a job.

  4. avatar Roymond says:

    The laws work! They just have to cover the whole state!

    >more deaths from barbarians with gunsmore deaths from barbarians with gunsmore deaths from barbarians with gunsmore deaths from barbarians with gunsmore deaths from barbarians with gunsmore deaths from barbarians with guns<

    The laws work! They just have to cover the whole . . . .

    1. avatar NYC2AZ says:

      Sounds like an article I read a while back where the author stated the reason why the USSR failed was because Communism has to be a global effort for it to be successful. Of course, if anyone disagrees they just need to be “re-educated” …. or eliminated.

      1. avatar Omer Baker says:

        Not that I believe it but Marx wrote that once capitalism reached its final stage, that would be when communism would emerge. Therefore, communism can never work unless you let capitalism continue unfettered until it reaches its end. It cannot be forced. Once again, not that I believe it, but that is at least plausible in comparison to “from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.”

    2. avatar Five says:

      City gun control, criminals still have guns from outside city. Therefore:
      State gun control, criminals still have guns from outside the state. Therefore:
      Country-Wide gun control. Criminals still have the guns they already had, still have guns from black market, and criminals still have access to guns from outside the country. Therefore:
      Contentent-wide gun control, criminals still have access to guns from across the ocean (just like drugs). Therefore:
      WORLD_WIDE Gun Control. – Criminals buy 3D printers – Plus they still have all the surplus weapons, plus as seen in Europe, small machineshops turn out boot-legged guns plus “ARE YOU FREAKING CRAZY AND THINK YOU CAN POLICE EVERY MACHINE SHOP AND PRINTER AND COUNTRY-COUNTY-CITY IN THE WHOLE FREAKING WORLD?”

      1. avatar DaProf says:

        Making a device to fire bullets downrange is a relatively straightforward process. Not necessarily good guns, but something that will fire rounds off in a general direction until it blows up.

        Certainly not as safe nor as certain, but they’ve been doing it in third world countries for decades. Ex: http://nowiknow.com/pakistans-village-of-illegal-guns/

  5. avatar Joe R. says:

    Same problem everywhere. “Government” no matter where you find it (consisting SOLELY of your stupid a-hole neighbors needing jobs) that promises security while demanding that you cease and desist your own methods and removing your means, F A I L S.

    Every time, Any time, all the time.

  6. avatar Roymond says:

    No idea what happened to my post…. it’s supposed to say:

    The laws work! They just have to cover the whole state!

    >more deaths from barbarians with guns

    The laws work! They just have to cover the whole country!

    >more deaths from barbarians with guns

    The laws work! They just have to cover the whole region!

    >more deaths from barbarians with guns

    The laws work! They just have to cover the whole continent!

    >more deaths from barbarians with guns

    The laws work! They just have to cover the whole hemisphere!

    >more deaths from barbarians with guns

    The laws work! They just have to cover the whole world!

    >more deaths from barbarians with guns

    The laws work! They just have to cover the whole . . . .

  7. avatar Jjimmyjomga says:

    Naughty Muslim terrorists…you broke the law, now we will put you in jail…or…oops.

  8. avatar ANdrew Lias says:

    This should be a statement of failure for nation wide gun prohibition; Mexico already smuggles virtually ANYTHING that’s illegal into the US, why wouldn’t they smuggle guns if they were banned? I could seven see them setting up their own manufacturing facilities if they needed to. Then again, all they’d probably have to do is bribe the military and you’d see REAL assault rifles flowing into the US because if you’re going to get busted you may as well have the genuine article. There may even be some RPGs as a bonus.

    1. avatar bob H says:

      I’ve pointed this out to my friends many times. If the UK has 500k-1mill illegal weapons, and they are a small island with cameras on every corner and tightly controlled immigration and port traffic… How in the world, in all seriousness would a gun ban of any kind work in the U.S.? The Mexicans can smuggle huge amounts of drugs, weapons, and PEOPLE!! We (government) can’t stop 10,000 people a month from sneaking through the U.S. Mexican border, but somehow we can stop every single illegal firearm? No. Just like other socialist pipe dreams, you almost would have to completely suspend all reason and basic logic in order to believe what they are selling.

  9. avatar Cliff H says:

    We also forget to mention the terrorist on the Paris bound train stopped by three Americans was carrying an AK that I heard he “found” in Belgium, along with a large amount of loaded magazines. These sorts of things cannot be stopped. Australia is trying hard but even they can’t control the influx of “illegal” weapons, and they’re an island!

    Just a side note on what if there are no firearms available: the recent book/movie “The Martian”. At the end of the rescue sequence one of the astronauts concocts an explosive device in a Thermos bottle. The explosive was table sugar and the bottle was filled with liquid oxygen. The thing was detonated by a short circuit when a light switch was thrown and had an effect equal to a large amount of dynamite. Terrorists who cannot get firearms (right) will find a way to commit terror – it’s what they do.

    1. avatar Tactical Mall Ninja says:

      Actually they can and you say it in your post. It takes people willing to stand up and defend those around them and not wait for the authorities (or those in power) to take action.

      If everyone took steps to be aware of their surroundings and had training and ability to react to potential threats, THEN the world would be a better place. It just takes people taking responsibility for their actions. Don’t like guns, great, learn hand to hand self defense. Don’t like to fight, great, become a trained first responder. But take action as the 3 men on that fateful day did on the train.

      Self defense and self reliance is a good thing.

  10. avatar C.S. says:

    If illegal immigrants can just walk across the border, they can most certainly smuggle stuff also (not saying that the majority actually do)… gun control is pure folly at any level. Even the US Virgin Islands cant keep guns out – and they’re islands.

  11. avatar Katy says:

    One nit to pick. What lawless country surrounds France? Belgium, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, Italy, and Luxembourg all strike me as lawful and controlled (as are Monaco and Monte Carlo). Spain has some Catalonia troubles, but ETA historically blew things up after making calls so authorities could clear the are.

    The US is closer to lawlessness with the Mexican border than anything close to France. The security issues faced by France would be all the worse here.

    1. avatar Geoff PR says:

      “One nit to pick. What lawless country surrounds France?”

      Katy. I think RF failed to read the actual article.

      David Axe (Who also happens to own and write for the excellent “War is Boring” website) isn’t calling for more gun control, he’s *explaining* why gun control in Europe won’t work.


      RF (And every other TTAGer with a brain), do yourself a favor and add ‘War is Boring’ to your daily blog reads.

      1. avatar DerryM says:

        Just read the article this morning. It is more a statement of facts than an anti-gun rant. Nowhere does Axe advocate FOR more gun control laws. He does make the observation France is surrounded by several Countries where Arms Dealers thrive on the illicit sale of small Arms to anyone who can pay. He does not make any judgements, he just reports the facts he found. I guess one can infer whatever one wants from Axe’s article, but I agree with you, Geoff PR.
        The complaint from those who rule Chicago has long been their gun control laws do not work because they are surrounded by other localities where guns are available and easily transported into Chicago. If nothing else, the situation in France supports that contention. A good discussion of this observable phenomena* has occurred in this thread, but maybe a more focused TTAG Article and discussion on this topic is in order, RF.

        * I used the term “observable phenomena” purposely because there is a lot to consider and debate on this matter. It cannot be dismissed out-of-hand, nor is it readily acceptable, but it is there staring us in the face.

  12. avatar Geoff says:

    The actual article linked doesn’t promote gun control per se and is hardly inflammatory. I’m not really sure why TTAG linked to it. The headline you chose was quite misleading.

    If anything, the article highlights the futility of gun control in France?

    1. avatar Hayabusa says:

      I agree. I read Axe’s article, and didn’t see a single claim that “gun control can stop terrorists.” Instead, quite the opposite, the article is a lengthy explanation of why French gun control is not working, and in fact cannot work, due largely to factors beyond the control of the French.

      The title of this blog post is just typical Farago drama-queen clickbait.

  13. avatar Mk10108 says:

    Oh the insanity….law abiders mandating gun control for other law abiders and criminals who don’t care about laws. One day I’ll make a 10 dollar pipe gun and register it.

  14. avatar Mark N. says:

    A quibble: According to your Wiki link, King Canute was NOT deluded; rather, he was smart enough to recognize that even the power of a king was not enough to stop the tide. Which is pretty apropos–the power of the state is not enough to stop the tide of illegal smuggling, whether it be people, drugs, animals, fish or guns. Or anything else you can name.

  15. avatar Former Water Walker says:

    DUH…just duh. THIS is why I don’t put a freakin’ French flag on my FB page. My growed-up son didn’t give me a like when I suggested arming the ordinary Frenchman. Maybe he knows something ’cause he speaks Arabic. Good luck finding these bastards on a playstation4 son…fun fact: my dad’s nickname in high school was “Frenchman” because he only spoke French until he was 6years old.

  16. avatar Mark N. says:

    The article fails to mention Bulgaria, a country with a reputation as having huge mafia-style crime syndicates with a lot of shady dealings with the KGB/FSB, which syndicates have access to massive stores of Russian weapons. AS the Kalashnikov is the most produced assault rifle in the world, I would strongly suspect that there are many more than five or six million floating around.

  17. avatar pod says:

    The countries surrounding France – Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, Italy, Luxembourg, Andorra, Switzerland, and so on all have strict gun control that is enforced by their law enforcement agencies. Furthermore, the EU mandates a lowest-common denominator factor for their gun control efforts as well. But yet, these guys got their guns. It’s not as if those dastardly countries in the East deliberately flooded France with guns – these guys went out to get them. And the happy-go-lucky EU, with no internal border controls, did nothing to stop them.

    If France and the EU as a whole want true gun control – they have to violate a whole host of freedoms they supposedly value as well. You want a restrictive state? Fine, but half-assing it won’t work. This goes for the US too – you don’t like guns? OK – well, if you really don’t want them in society, be prepared for the abridgment of all the freedoms you hold dear. Gun control has a huge cost in many ways.

    Freedom is dangerous. Wear a helmet, keep your powder dry – get used to it.

  18. avatar Doug McNeil says:

    And if they had worldwide gun control they would probably blame other planets. You know Mars has no gun control laws at all.

  19. avatar Bob says:

    New improved gun control!! Stops terrorists, ends gang violence, makes your teeth whiter and breath fresher. Cleans tough stains and increases sexual stamina. Cures cancer and save kittens. Makes you smarter and more handsome. Makes pigs fly and prevents lemmings from jumping off cliffs.

    All this and more can be yours for the low low price of crushing oppression, violations of your rights, and illegal seizure of your property.

    Call now!! Operators are standing by!!! The first 1000 orders come with extra socialism!!

  20. avatar Chris T from KY says:

    Anti gun anti civil rights people are just utopians willing to see the law abiding Jailed or killed. I have never understood why any pro arms person would try to reason with them. They have never used reason in their thinking. They are dangerous anti civil rights and irrational people.

  21. avatar Anonymous says:

    France will not embrace gun ownership for self defense. Stop dreaming. They rely on the state to care for and protect them as they are incapable of embracing such responsibility for themselves. In the end, they will accept victimhood and embrace the helplessness of being raped, burglarized, and even the occasional mass killings by intolerant religious groups – all so long as they don’t have to take that responsibility for their own safety.

  22. avatar gsnyder says:

    Okay, we all know what Trump said about France not having guns, appreciated Donald, really. But here in WA ST near Seattle this is how the progressive nuts think:

    A KIRO radio host played the Trump gun speech then concluded Donald was wrong, guns would not have saved any lives. His rationale? Wait for it….because the terrorists blew themselves up! Yes, this was a seasoned host’s logic. And this is Seattle in a nutshell. (emphasis on “nut”).

    Oh, and they and Governor want Syrians here too, nice touch. Idiots.

    1. avatar Juanito ''Johnnie'' Ibañez says:

      Kinda hard to press a bomb vest “Detonate” button with a 125gr. 9mm projectile parting your eyebrows.

      1. avatar Geoff PR says:

        “Kinda hard to press a bomb vest “Detonate” button with a 125gr. 9mm projectile parting your eyebrows.”

        It’s not that simple.

        Ever hear of a deadman’s switch? The terrorists has a plunger switch in his hand and his thumb is holding down the plunger.

        Kill him and when his muscles go limp the bomb goes *boom*…

        1. avatar tsbhoA.P.jr says:

          sure, but i can make him paint a walmart instead of a crowd.

        2. avatar Bob says:

          That’s why you have to shoot them with 45ACP.

  23. avatar J says:

    There are idiots saying things would have been worse if armed civilians returned fire in the Paris concert hall. Innocents would have been killed in the cross-fire. 100+ killed in a ten minute span – like that was an ideal outcome.

    1. avatar GenghisQuan says:

      The relevant point is that once the terrorist act has already happened, everyone in that room is dead already. The possibility of them being hit by return fire from a carrier is superior to the certainty of them being executed.

  24. avatar Steve Day says:

    Banning guns does not stop evil pellets from doing evil things. The gun-control loonies insist that “if they had only knives, less people would have been murdered”.

    … I’d like to see them explain that flawed rationale to family members of the Xinjiang coal-miners who were stabbed/slashed to death with knives in September 2015. The death toll is currently 50 from that attack alone – which is just the most recent knife attack in China.

    1. avatar Steve Day says:

      “People” not “pellets”

      …stupid spellchecker and finger neuropathy.

    2. avatar Arkansas kurt says:

      I seem to remember a group of 19 hijackers armed with box knives killing thousands. The tool doesn’t matter when there is intent.

  25. avatar thx855 says:

    Gun control can stop terrorists, it’s called recoil management.

  26. avatar Martin says:

    Well, I’m not really surprised some people blame lax gun laws in other countries. I live in one of those Eastern-European countries the article hints at and, in addition to our own local antis, we’ve had to fight EU-based gun control for years.

    And I guess it goes without saying that while it *is* possible to legally buy a full-auto AK here, those are not shall-issue and the police are *very* picky about who gets to buy such. There’s like zero chance of terrorists buying full-auto weapons here legally and illegal trade is, you guessed it, illegal for a long time now.

  27. avatar Joe Juste says:

    What do you propose doing with stockpiles of aging military weapons that the generals want to get rid of in order to justify using taxpayer money to buy new and more weapons, for which the gun manufacturers make big profits from, giving the generals big kickbacks from. The generals’ solution has been to sell those aging weapons on the black market, with the proceeds going into the aging generals retirement fund, while the weapons end up at gun shows and in the hands of freedom fighters, political activists, rebels and terrorists all around the world. Your suggestion, Robert Farago, could only be accomplished by having the “lion lay down with the lamb”s, and stop all guns and weapons manufacturing in the world. ONLY, in that way, could weapons be prevented ending up in the hands of those some others consider terrorists~

  28. avatar DaProf says:

    To paraphrase someone else:

    The ONLY reason someone wants to take your gun from you is to gain a power over you they didn’t have before. Be it criminal, crazy, terrorist or tyrant, their desire is the same.

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